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The Story of Glyconutrients - Are they missing from your diet?

Mar 17, 2008
Do you know that a deficiency in certain sugars could be causing illness? How can that be true? We all know that too much sugar is bad for us... It was only quite recently that scientists discovered a family of 'nutritional' sugars. Sugars that are found in plants, sugars that play an important part in the functioning of our immune systems, that boost kidney function and help prevent disease.

According to Scientists there is a direct link between disease and diet. Provided the human body, the amazing machine that it is, receives adequate nutrition, it is capable of healing itself of disease. If it is not given the correct nutrition, however, it is left defenseless and susceptible to disease.

There are so many health problems today that can be attributed to dietary deficiencies. Fast foods and processed foods, which are lacking in nutritional value, make up a large portion of our diets today.

Essential nutrients have been processed out of many of the foods that we eat. This means the body's immune system becomes weaker and loses the ability to combat disease. The packaged foods that are so much a part of our regular diets are loaded with additives to increase their shelf life. These additives contribute nothing to the nutritional value of the food. Most fruit and vegetables are picked too early and then gassed to ripen which means they lose valuable nutrients.

Let's now go back a little in time. It had been known for a long time that the aloe vera plant had remarkable healing properties. It seemed though, that once the aloe was processed commercially, it did not show the same health benefits as did the fresh, newly picked aloe.

It was during the early 1980s that a research pharmacologist was hired to attempt to isolate the medically active ingredient from the aloe vera plant. He set out to discover why the same benefits that were obvious with the freshly harvested plant, were not evident after processing.

The active ingredient in the aloe vera gel turned out to be a long chain carbohydrate made up predominately of a sugar called Mannose. It was found that within a day or two of the aloe leaf being picked, this long-chain sugar molecule began to deteriorate, causing the gel to lose its effectiveness. This led, with much further research, to a new process being developed that protected this long-chain sugar from being destroyed. This process was then patented and the new stabilized aloe extract was made available to the public - the accolades flowing in from all directions.

People with all kinds of health problems began reporting their improvement after taking the new product, and scientists could see they had their hands on something significant.

Not a lot was known at that time about this science of carbohydrate structuring and it was being taught at only one or two universities in the world. Before long, however, researchers all over the world began studying these carbohydrates and by 1990 there had been about 4000 papers published about this new science that became known as Glycobiology. It was named as one of the 'hottest' new fields of medical research, with a complete chapter of Harpers Biochemistry in 1996 being devoted to a review of these sugars, which were identified as being essential for cell-to-cell communication and immune function.

It was found that of the 200 carbohydrate monosaccharides, or sugars, found in nature, there were eight biologically active sugars (glyconutrients) that gave our cells their structural support network and were critical for cellular communication. These glyco or sugar forms work to keep our hormones in balance, fight off disease invaders, enable blood to clot and create a complex cellular messaging system. Reason enough to include them in our diet?
About the Author
Learn more about why you should be adding glyconutrients to your diet and evaluate carefully which other supplements are necessary and how to make the right decisions when selecting them.
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